Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Science Class All Over Again

All those years of teaching fifth graders how to do science experiments have paid off. Today I started out trying to make some BIG beads. The beads were beautiful, but they took a lot of precious clay and were too heavy to suit me. How to make a hollow round bead-experiment number one. First I tried placing the clay on a rounded support, but this resulted in lentil shapes instead of roundish ones. Then I tried baking the beads around an already rounded bead, slicing them open,removing the armature and putting the two halves back together. Too much margin for error in this one. Last, I searched for a dissolvable substance that would simply be gone when the bead was cured and cleaned. EUREKA! It worked. I desperately wanted it to be cornstarch packing peanuts, but alas, none were in my studio. What was in my studio, you ask. Ummm, snacks were in my studio. Some cheezy crunchy things from the "healthy foods" aisle at Kroger were in my studio. I placed a layer of scrap clay against the ersatz food, extruded a rainbow blend of clay and wrapped the bundle. Then, I pierced the resulting bead and fired it up. When the beads came out of the oven I dropped them in water. They floated! After a few minutes they sank to the bottom. When I took them from the water bath, I blew the remainder of the residue out of the piercing holes. VOILA-a big hollow bead.


  1. Sounds like you've been having fun, I love to experiment with things like that. Glad you found a good use for your health food lol.

  2. Have you thoguht of trying wax? I know when they make casts for jewelry they form the item out of wax, pack clay around it and let it dry. Then when they fire it the wax melts. Of course the trick is to keep wax from going everywhere.